In the Kitchen with Chef Robert: Green-Dyed Food

Each month, we feature Robert Pesch, our VP of Culinary Research & Development, where he shares insider tips on recipes and food trends, as well as great information on all the latest happenings on the menu at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.

When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day fare, there are three things on people’s minds: Corned Beef and Cabbage, Guinness and green foods of all kinds.

A lot of us have tried to have green-food fun on St. Patrick’s Day by adding a few drops of green food coloring to give our meals that little bit of a festive flair. But if you’re looking for a more natural way to change up the colors of your food, there’s something else you can try.

I like to keep things as natural as possible, so instead of using green food coloring to add the Irish hue to my food, I whip up my own green food dye out of two ingredients that are 100% natural: spinach and water.

Start off by tossing about two handfuls of spinach leaves into a saucepan and then add water. Make sure you add enough water so that the spinach leaves are barely sticking out above the surface and then bring the water to a boil.

Once the water is at a rolling boil, turn down the temperature to medium and let it simmer until the water is reduced to about half. This should take about 15 minutes or so.

With the water at about half, pour the water and the spinach leaves into a blender and blend everything up until there are no visible spinach leaves in the mix. If you don’t want your kids to know what the dye is made out of, you’ll have to blend it until everything is completely smooth!

Make sure your blender has an opening in the lid so that the steam can exit out the top. If the steam from the hot water stays inside the blender, you’ll end up with a thick, murky dye — and that’s not what we’re going for! After you’ve let the blended mixture chill in the fridge, you can add it to just about anything — bread dough, eggs and even cookie dough.

Surprisingly, the spinach flavor is pretty much non-existent, so although you may be a little hesitant to add a leafy green to a cookie dough, you’ll be getting all the green color and none of the green flavor!

Plus, I’m always up for sneaking healthy foods into any of the dishes I prepare for my kids, so this natural green dye is a perfect way to do that! Use your imagination and have fun coloring your St. Patrick’s Day food.

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